May 25, 2008
Great Lake Swimmers photo by DoneWaiting, taken at HighFive, Columbus, OH, 7 April 2006
The last time I talked about Old Man Leudecke I was featuring Great Lake Swimmers, who were coming through town the next day and the last Time Tony Dekker came to the Grad Club he was accompanied by Julie Fader who will also be opening for and playing with Dekker when Great Lake Swimmers return on Wednesday, May 28th (I don’t know why but I find this repetition interesting). Its an early show (9pm) and as incentive for you to get there (very) early they will be a McAuslan Brewery Beer Tasting (only $5) starting at 7. That is my kinda double-bill.
Because I’m feeling a little lazy – and because I think it is still accurate (and because I imagine everyone skips the text entirely and goes for the mp3s so won’t notice anyway) – I’m going to recycle what I said before about GLS. “[The] sound is extraordinary. It is subtle but affecting. The atmosphere created evokes indistinct memories, faces faded with time, and the specters of events that are all but forgotten. Great Lake Swimmers are melancholic but are not bleak. With their musicianship they draw you closer, where Tony Dekker’s exquisitely crafted lyrics ensnare you. They will haunt you for day after hearing them.” Not to shabby for a hack, eh?
Other than the Grad Club show, GLS don’t have much in the way of tour dates until the festival season kicks off in July. The one exception is the The Blue Review, June 19, 2008 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto where they will be playing with Sarah Harmer, Serena Ryder, Hawksley Workman, Danny Michel and special guests to help raise awareness and funds for the Blue Marble Music Fund. I have no doubt that its going to be a fantastic show and I have my tickets. To get yours, and for more info on the concert and the charity click here.
I haven’t seen Great Lake Swimmers live yet so, as with last time (the links are still active so go there to get more great live GLS) I am going to post a few songs which were provided by the generous, the wonderful, the always surprising, entertaining, and enlightening CBC (my new favourite show, in case you’re wondering is The Age of Persuasion. Check it out. It’s rad). These are just my three favourites from the show and you can find the full set at CBCRadio3. Enjoy.
Great Lake Swimmers, Dawson City Music Festival, Dawson City, 12 July 2007
You can get even more live Great Lake Swimmers courtesy of Nettwerk who are sharing a Live EP (recorded at the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto). While you’re there, you can buy GLS’ albums or you can get them from Zunior (digital) and/or Weewerk.
May 21, 2008
photo courtesy of The Artel.
Man-oh-man am I behind on this. TONIGHT, May 21st, Old Man Luedecke is going to be at the Grad Club and you should go see him. It’s an Apple Crisp show celebrating the release of The Gertrudes‘ new record and a Skeleton Park Music Festival fundraiser (no word on the 2008 line-up for this yet but as soon as i know i’ll let you know) and it should be a really great time.
In addition to being totally banjo-rific, OML is an endearing performer – charming, witty, tells great stories – and his songs alternate between rollicking fun and tender ballads and they all have really great lyrics over intricately picked banjo. What more could you want? He’s recently released an excellent new album entitled “Proof of Love” which I highly recommend. The title track has been stuck in my head for days now and I’m perfectly happy to let it go ’round and ’round up there. When OML visited town in March of ’07 he previewed a bunch of songs off his then-unreleased album and played a bunch from his (also highly recommended) record “Hinterland”. I have below a few songs from that night for you to sample. I had some issues with my mic so there is a bit of hiss but i don’t think it is too detrimental to the overall effect. I hope you like these songs (I really, really do) and I hope you see you out at the Grad Club tonight. He’s playing a ton more dates pretty much everywhere so click here to find out where else you can see him.
Old Man Luedecke, The Artel, Kingston, 16 March 2007
May 14, 2008
One of my favourite albums of last year was the New Pornographers‘ Challengers. I don’t get why so many people were so down on this record – so what if it’s not as poppy as their previous work – there are a ton of great moments on it and overall I think it is a fantastic album that was terribly underrated by most. Just my opinion; you can disagree if you like. I don’t travel too far to see many bands (what with all the greatness that is on my doorstep and all) but I made the trek to Toronto in October to see the full band take the stage. The first time I saw NP live, when they opened for Belle & Sebastian, it was less than ideal to say the very least (shitty sound, shitty crowd, we got there late missing half the show) so I was really hoping for something great from this show. And, by and large, I was really happy with what I got this time around. As others who reviewed the show in a timely fashion have stated, the band seemed rather detached for the most part and there were some odd rather moments filled with awkward silence (apparently it was better when they rolled through Toronto again in April). While they didn’t offer much in the way of banter they made up for it in the music. They effortlessly tore through a huge set (24 songs) of new songs and old favourites, making the performance of perfect pop seem like it was the easiest thing in the world to pull off. I am glad to have made the trip for the pleasure of seeing Neko and Dan up there even if it wasn’t the OMFGBestShowEvah!, although I can still see the words “NEW PORNOGRAPHERS” when I close my eyes from the million-watt strong light sign that was their back drop. Yikes that was intense.
Here are a few selections from the show. My recording didn’t turn out as well one might like (sounds rather hollow – i guess i’m not used to taping in venue that size and didn’t have my settings right? i dunno) so I recommend you get yourself the Executive Edition of Challengers and snap up the “Live from the Future” bonus disc or get the Live! cd from a year or so ago. If you like what you hear and want the rest let me know. If there is some interest I might be persuaded to post the full thing. I hope you enjoy even it the recording isn’t perfect.
The New Pornographers, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, 21 October 2007
Pick up Challengers and the Live! cd and shirts and stuff from the NP Store.
May 9, 2008
the gorgeous show poster is by Benjamin Nelson.
I don’t know how this escaped the attention of my Show Listing editor (that’s going to be one fired webmonkey, that’s all I have to say) but what is undoubtedly going to be the most raucous, amazing, bewildering, sweaty, dancey show of the year is happening this Saturday. Woodhands, joined by Magic Jordan, are going to invade The Artel on Saturday, May 10th, and if you have any sense you will get yourself there (and get there early ’cause space is limited).
I’ve been listening to Woodhands’ new album “Heart Attack” a great deal lately and it is filled top to bottom with stompers. While the lead track Dancer is an absolute stunner – with its sultry female vocals juxtaposed with the gritty shouted lead – and has been pretty much on repeat at my place for the past couple of weeks, the entire album is excellent. Dan Werb rocks the keytar like his life depended on it and Paul Banwatt proves very well might be the best drummer around. The beats are hefty, the synth riffs energizing, the vocals swing from melodic to gritty. I know we’re prone to hyperbole here on the interwebs, but I think stating that “Heart Attack” is going to be one of the albums of the year is a pretty safe bet.
This show is going to be HOTTTTTTT.
(and i’m going to be out of town. fuck.)
Here are a few tracks to so you can get your dance on tonight before you get it on tommorrow:
And you can get a Magic Jordan track on the Friends of Skeleton Park album which is superb. Its out on Apple Crisp Records and can be bought around town.
May 7, 2008
photo of Stars at the Bronson Centre, Ottawa on April 3, 2008 by Lenny W.
When you see Stars perform you should expect the following things: dreamy eye-d songs of booze, sex, death, etc.; intimacy no matter how large the room is; some political commentary mixed with personal and often amusing stories; great harmonies & lushness all around. On their recent stop in Kingston a month ago they delivered on all fronts.
While I wasn’t immediately taken with “In the Bedroom…”, as I was with “Heart” & “Set Yourself on Fire”, I have certainly grown to appreciate it after a few listens. Their sound has evolved – becoming fuller, more dramatic, and, in many ways, more diverse – but they have kept what makes them unique firmly in place . There is romance and passion which informs their music in a way that evades being trite.
Seeing the best of their new songs performed live, they make even more sense. A little of the album’s polish is removed and the songs become even more immediate. The interplay between Campbell and Millan hasn’t dulled with time – if anything it has become more refined and more complex. Put side by side with their older material onstage, it fit right in: the all-important tone of the songs is consistent even if the variety sounds used in their construction have expanded.
Of the four (or so) time’s I’ve seen Stars perform, I think this was the best. The setlist was great, with a good selection and excellent pacing; the sound was superb; the audience interaction was fun and not overwhelming or preachy. In fact, if it weren’t for something that was entirely out of the bands control (see below) I would say that this was one of the better concerts I’ve seen so far this year. They have a few festival dates coming up and, if you have the chance, I recommend you seeing them for yourself.
Saturday June 7th, 2008 Toronto, ON – Olympic Island
Friday June 20th, 2008 Winnipeg, MB – Jazz Winnipeg Festival – Pantages Playhouse Theatre
Saturday June 21st, 2008 Vancouver, BC – The Malkin Bowl – Stanley Park
For your listening pleasure I have a few songs from this set. For the full thing keep reading. Enjoy
Stars, Stages, Kingston, 4 April 2008
1. The Beginning After the End
2. The Night Starts Here
3. Elevator Love Letter
4. election (talk)
5. Soft Revolution
6. Window Bird
7. One More Night
8. sad fact (talk)
10. six stitches (talk)
11. Bitches In Tokyo
12. Set Yourself on Fire
13. seventy-five year old Ukrainian drag queen (talk)
15. Going, Going, Gone
16. What I’m Trying to Say
17. the best night in Kingston to get laid (talk)
18. Midnight Coward
19. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
20. how many? (talk)
21. Ageless Beauty
22. class trip (talk)
23. In Our Bedroom After The War
24. let’s play some more (talk)
25. Take Me To The Riot
26. another survey (talk)
27. My Favourite Book
28. Calendar Girl
29. The Woods
I haven’t posted the full set here, just some highlights. If you dig what you hear and are a fan I encourage you to download the entire set. I must warn you, however, that around the fourth song an extraordinarily inconsiderate individual perched her fat ass in front of the bunch of us who got their early enough to have a spot where we had amazing site lines. Indeed, we have a perfect view of the stage until she came around and then all we got was a view of the back of her big stupid head. Since, as you might expect, no one around me appreciated this, there is an understandable amount of profanity, threats of violence and schemes to encourage/force this fool down. She finally moved after about four songs later (and it was a good thing, too, as someone behind me was starting to throw things at her and i think things could only have escalated from there). Anyway, to end a long story, the recording is marred for the first while because of this nonsense. There is some chatter and a fair bit of singing along in other spots but otherwise i think it sounds pretty good. If you want the full set you can get it here:
Be sure to pick up Stars albums, t-shirts etc. from their online store.